Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Travelling Whimsy

I was travelling in France this fall and what to share some highlights of the trip. First though I am shocked and horrified by the recent attacks in Paris.

Early in our trip we visited the town of Albi in France.

Albi, capital of the Tarn,  is arguably the most interesting small city in the Midi-Pyrenees region, and we had a memorable visit.

The medieval St. Cecilia's cathedral is remarkable and unique monument, being both fortified and built of brick. It is the largest brick church in the world.

"Built between 1282 and 1480, the current cathedral was built as a defiant assertion of papal power in a region which had only recently been brought back under the power of Rome following the period of the Cathar heresy.  The Albigensian crusade was the only crusade directed not against infidels, but against dissenting Christians."

A closer look at the bricks and a look at a couple of the "gargoyle like" statues on its exterior.

Next to the Cathedral is the Bishop's Palace which houses the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.
"Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864-1901, was the great post-impressionist iconographer of Parisian life in the late nineteenth century; he was a native of Albi, and the museum hosts the largest collection of his work."
"Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901), also known as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French: [ɑ̃ʁi də tuluz lotʁɛk]) was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times." Wikipedia
One of his paintings: "Salon at the Rue Molins"
One of his posters: Jane Avril
 A view of the Bishop's gardens, also from this viewpoint you can see the Tarn river and the medieval bridge.

 Here is a closer look at the medieval bridge in Abli, which crosses the Tarn River; it is a thousand years old and is still in service today.

We walked across the bridge and looked down on a sandbar in the river:

The pigeons gathered and were bathing in the river. Then we noticed this fish swimming close by:

Not sure what was happening I stayed and watched for a few minutes and to my astonishment the fish came part way out of the water and lunged at one of the pigeons.
The scene now had my full attention and as I watched several of the large fish swam close to the sandbar and the pigeons seemed to ignore them, and then one of the fish came partway out of the water and this time grabbed a pigeon. The other pigeons scattered. I did not get a picture or a video but here is one from You Tube:
After some research on the internet I discovered that the fish is a catfish.
Here is a picture of the medieval bridge and the sandbar from the other side of the bridge.
We came across one more unusual site, we saw Hummingbird Moths on some late summer flowers.
Below is a picture, the Hummingbird Moth is in the centre of the screen. 

Her is a video I took of the moth but it is still not very clear.
Here is a video (not mine) that also contains some stills of the Hummingbird Moth.

Lastly, when we took a stroll through the covered market, I noticed these black radishes,
another new experience.

That is the end of my travelling story for today, I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

Here is a painting I have recently finished, another watercolour, it is called "Lone Arbutus".

For more details on this painting follow this link.

That's all for this week,  
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,


  1. Excellent photos of your travels in France, and your painting, superb Gillian.

  2. Amazing architecture the brick St. Cecilia's! What a lovely part of France!

  3. it is such a beautiful and special place.i too am so saddened by the recent events!!!

  4. Great photos and description of a very interesting part of France. Thanks also for the links you posted to further info of the area. I really like the painting - you are a very talented lady! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wonderful tour of your trip! Love your watercolor.

  6. That cat-fish story is remarkable. I was on a small island in the Pacific as the events in Paris unfolded - it was beyond belief.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. Your Lone arbutus tree is gorgeous! It must have been wonderful to be in France!